14-12-2018 WTA offers ranking protection for mothers returning to tour

Players will use previous rankings at select tournamentsReturn of Serena Williams after giving birth prompted debateThe WTA has given additional protection to the rankings of mothers returning to the tour after giving birth.Players who have returned from maternity leave – or have been absent through injury – will now be allowed to use their previous ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a three-year period following their comeback. Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Taekwondo World Championships: I'll buy another pizzeria if I win, says Walkden

Bianca Walkden would spend her prize money on another pizzeria if she wins this weekend’s World Taekwondo Grand Slam in China.

14-12-2018 Sri Lanka v England: Pick your England team for first Test

Who do you think should be in the England side for the first Test against Sri Lanka? Choose your XI and share it with your friends.

14-12-2018 Virat Kohli excited by need for speed on lively Perth wicket | Adam Collins

A green pitch for the second Test between Australia and India has ensured the 22 yards in the middle are a major point of fascination“Four quicks?” Of all the familiar Waca Ground tropes, that this question would always be asked in the lead up to a Test was one of the most consistent. Sure, it may have been well over a decade since the surface was re-laid changing the characteristics considerably, but the reputation for fire and fury lived on.With the move across the Swan River to the clean and pristine multi-purpose stadium by the casino, the consensus was that those days were over. Drop-in pitches, known for their relative tranquility, would take care of that. Except that now, four quicks are precisely what are being discussed ahead of this second Test between Australia and India on Friday. Continue reading...

14-12-2018 New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen to step down after World Cup

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen will step down after eight years in charge following the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

14-12-2018 David Squires on … the mistreatment of Raheem Sterling

Our cartoonist on why it’s hard to exaggerate the vilification Raheem Sterling has been subjected to in recent yearsIf you like David’s cartoons, buy his book Goalless Draws Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Leeds promotion push unlikely to be affected by fate of Eleven Sports

• Owner Andrea Radrizzani runs struggling streaming service• Leeds confident Marcelo Bielsa’s promotion drive is still onFears that Leeds’s promotion push might be derailed by the potential closure of Eleven Sports UK, the streaming service run by the club’s owner, Andrea Radrizzani, appear unfounded.Senior figures at Elland Road are understood to be confident that, for the remainder of this season at least, any closure would make no material difference to Marcelo Bielsa’s plans. The former Argentina and Chile manager has led Leeds to second place in the Championship, one point behind Norwich, leaving them on course for the automatic promotion to the Premier League which would transform their finances. Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Can women save Sumo? The crossroads facing Japan's national sport – video

The ancient Japanese ritual of Sumo is in crisis. Only last week, a Mongolian wrestler was forced to retire after assaulting a teammate – but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Years of controversy and scandal, coupled with the country's declining population, have greatly impacted the sport's ability to attract new talent. The Guardian visits Tokyo's Ryōgoku district, the birthplace of Sumo, to see how this iconic institution is adapting to life in the 21st century, and why - despite women being banned from the ring itself - young female fans are flocking to watch it like never beforeYokozuna, controversies and a 'Dump Truck': a sumo history – in pictures Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

A crunch clash at Anfield, depleted Palace and Huddersfield teams, and the start of a crucial run for FulhamIt is a marker of how far Manchester United have fallen to see that when Gary Neville set about choosing his combined XI for Liverpool and Manchester United on Monday Night Football, he included just three outfield United players. The only player he picked with conviction was Anthony Martial at left wing, admitting Eric Bailly would not be in if Joe Gomez was fit and laughing that his selection of Paul Pogba alongside Naby Keïta and Gini Wijnaldum was “just an opportunity to get a United player in”. Nobody would argue that Liverpool are the better side, and have been for a number of years, yet the past eight league meetings read W0, D3, L5 for the Merseyside club. Liverpool’s lack of ruthlessness against Napoli so nearly came back to bite them in the Champions League; they can ill afford the same profligacy against a José Mourinho side that is unlikely to be anything other than defensively minded. MB Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Copa Sudamericana 2018: Atletico Paranaense beat Junior to win Copa Sudamericana

Watch highlights from Atletico Paranaense's victory over Junior FC on penalties to win the Copa Sudamericana trophy in Brazil.

14-12-2018 Chelsea condemn anti-Semitic chants in MOL Vidi game

Chelsea say fans who sang an anti-Semitic chant in the Europa League game with MOL Vidi have "shamed the club".

14-12-2018 Spurs, saves, Street Fighter and Atlanta United – Football Weekly Extra

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Paolo Bandini and Lars Sivertsen to discuss Spurs and Liverpool squeaking through in the Champions League, easy but great saves, Italian strife, Atlanta United and Street FighterJoin the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.We look back at the last few days of football, starting with Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Camp Nou, which in combination with Inter’s draw with PSV was enough to see Mauricio Pochettino’s side qualify for the round of 16. Continue reading...

14-12-2018 Jess Varnish tribunal: British Cycling coaches had 'complete' control over riders, says Dr Richard Freeman

British Cycling coaches had "complete" control over its athletes, according to evidence heard at ex-rider Jess Varnish's employment tribunal.

14-12-2018 Europa League: Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny returns in easy 1-0 win over Qarabag

Laurent Koscielny plays for the first time since May as Arsenal complete the Europa League group stage with an easy win over Qarabag.